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Anti-pipeline protests disrupting accessibility of people with disabilities: advocacy group

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Feb 13, 2020 at 12:24 pm PDT

Protesters marching through the streets of Downtown Vancouver on Feb. 12, 2020. (Mathew Fraser, NEWS 1130 photo)

Not everyone can take Uber or taxi, says Disability Alliance BC

Agency clients having to make other plans

Demonstrations against the Coastal GasLink pipeline have held up traffic and transit at various locations

VANCOUVER: (NEWS 1130) – People with disabilities may face more challenges getting around Vancouver with protests popping up without warning in busy areas.

Justina Loh, executive director of Disability Alliance BC, says many of the organization’s clients, staff, and volunteers are having to make other plans or adjust their schedules to get to the office at Broadway and Cambie Street, home or work.

“People are having to make contingency plans or having to modify their schedules a bit, depending on where the people are,” Loh said of the protests.

Demonstrations against the Coastal GasLink pipeline have held up traffic and transit at various locations in Metro Vancouver this past week. Protesters blocked the Granville Street Bridge on Wednesday.

Disability Alliance BC understands and respects people’s right to protest, but points out that blocking areas such as roads or bridges makes it challenging when its clients have to see a specialist or doctor.

“That makes it really difficult and it’s not a good situation,” said Loh.

RELATED: ‘Sometimes democracy isn’t convenient’: More protests, disruptions by Wet’suwet’en supporters expected

Not everyone can easily take advantage of alternative transportation, she added.

“Getting around to medical appointments, which is very important, doctors appointments, it makes it really hard when people are not able to get on a taxi or a ride-hailing car because there are no accessible vehicles,” Loh said.

The pipeline would span 670-kilometres and cost billions of dollars. The company has received approval from a number of Indigenous leaders along the pipeline’s proposed route, however, some hereditary chiefs say they didn’t give their consent to the project.